tapestry: a new way to write  

[updated on 28th november]

Two and a half weeks ago we released tapestry – an iPhone app that lets you read tapable stories. What are tappable stories? In April Robin Sloan released Fish: a tap essay – a simple story contained within an app. Tap Fish is, as Robin describes it, is a short heartfelt essay about the difference between liking something on the internet and loving something. I loved the essay, it made me think. About fish. And about the medium, I loved the medium – It’s short, sharp and very immersive. It successfully asks the reader for a bit, just a bit, of full. Total. Attention.

tapestry lets you create your own tappable stories. It lets you author fish like stories. There are two pieces to tapestry – the app that lets you read and a web site that lets you write stories. In the last two weeks about 500 stories have been written. A few of these new stories are featured within the app alongside Fish. But many stories havent been featured, the authors have simply tweeted about them and shared them publicly. I thought it would be fun to gather some here.


With tapestry we are working to create a new authoring environment. One that combines the simplicity of the web with the intimacy of the touch interface. When we started developing tapestry it struck us that there weren’t many native reading experiences on the iPhone or iPad. Our goal is to build such a tool. A space to slow things down and let you create or experience, short, tappable stories in a simple, clean, distraction free reading environment. There are a few rules the app imposes: it’s full screen, there is no back button and you can only read the stories in the app. These restrictions are all about us seeking that bit of attention I mentioned above. The web as a reading experience has become so fragmented, fragmented navigation, fragmented user experience and fragmented content. With tapestry we are trying to create a different space, a different experience.

Here are some examples of the stories I have found in the past two weeks.

Note, if you are reading this on an iPhone or iPad you can move between the post and the stories easily, if not below each story page you can enter your phone number and text yourself the story to read later:

1. The Jump


Fairly soon after launch Dominic Basulto wrote “The Jump”, a reminder of how much can happen in 5 minutes. It’s a good example of how a few words and images can be used in this stacco form to communicate something. To get the app and read it click here:

2. Whip it

Whip It

Several stories lay out lyrics from songs. This one is Devo’s “Whip it”, the color flips are great. To read it click here:

3. That thin layer that supports swans

Minicus, like Jump, takes one idea and lays it out with some great images. It communicates an idea, in a way that a web site would struggle to do. To read it click here:

4. Then Otis, Mabel and Hector showed up

Ariel Aberg-Riger (aka @Figure1) has authored three stories thus far. They are wonderful and sit as a collection. First came The Ballad of Otis, then The Song of Mabel and most recently The Tall tale of Hector. The narrative and visual imagery that Ariel uses is great.




5. Stories for children

Several people have used the platform to write stories for children, here are two that I found great:

I dont like crocodiles, by Christy Ross

modern day myth, by @SidneyVollmer

6. Several people have put poems or quotes into stories


First there was After Sappho. A look at love and the stars by @deepspeedmedia
Then @jrlevine laid out Dylan’s Last thoughts on Woody Gutherie http://tapestry.is/FYjn3
Then Invictus by Louis.
And then Anew by @borthwick, ie: me.

And finally. A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by @McAndrew


7. News and Posts

I believe @zseward created the first news tapestry. Its a story of the Bangladesh factory fire, the images hit hard. Take a read of Savar, Bangladesh by @zseward.

@kteare authored this Manifesto of The Mobile Revolution, The Slow Death of Web 2.0
and Social Walled Gardens:
last night. Its a short punchy version of several blog posts that Keith has scribed.

8. Italics

And I have to finish this collection with*The Italics*. The Italics is a new story that Robin Sloan created for the launch of tapestry. Its both a story and a metaphor for what we are building, its worth every tap. Enjoy.